Quest for a Culture of Life in America with Steve Koob

Steve Koob, founder and executive director of One More Soul, hosts a weekly program in which he interviews some of the people making a significant contribution to the Culture of Life. The hope and prayer is that Radio Maria listeners will be inspired by these guests, and will find ways that they too can foster a Culture of Life in their community, Church, and family.

February 16, 2016 – Does Third Party Reproduction violate the Constitution?

What is “Third Party Reproduction” (TPR)?  And what could it possibly have to do with the Constitution?  Those were the questions that came to my mind when Ellen Giangiordano offered to be our Guest on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”.

TPR is creation of human life by unnatural means involving sperm, egg or womb from persons (a “third party”) other than the intended parents.  I’ll depend on Ellen to answer the second question.  Ellen is an attorney, writer and stay-at-home mom.  How she developed an interest in TPR and the “mystical” experience that encourages her are fascinating.

I had not paid much attention to TPR until reading Ellen’s articles and chatting with her at length.  The subject is complex and very disturbing.  The children that issue from these relationships are being treated like products, commodities to be bought and sold, which gives you a hint to the Constitution connection.

For homework (optional) google “AnonymousUs”  to read the heart-breaking stories/feelings of TPR products.  Then you will begin to have an understanding of the effect their status has on them.


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February 09, 2016 – Lent–The Cross of Victory–Mercy

Today’s “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” is a perfect lead into Lent, especially during this Year of Mercy.  Our Guest on the Quest will be Dr Rocco Martino, PhD rocket scientist turned acclaimed author of novels that probe the life and times of Jesus Christ.
A couple years ago we interviewed Dr Martino about The Resurrection:  A Criminal Investigation into the Mysterious Disappearance of the Body of  Crucified Jesus of Nazareth where we follow Roman Centurion Quintus as he conscientiously follows orders to find the the body or verify a resurrection.  Quintus interviews every relevant Biblical character and in so doing deepens the reader’s understanding of these friends and enemies of our Savior.  It is a very fascinating read.
In his most recent work–The Victory of the Cross–Dr Martino continues to flesh out Biblical characters who had roles in the Crucifixion: Caiaphas, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Pontius Pilate, Judas, and many more.  Rocco adds depth to our understanding and appreciation for  Mary His Mother, Mary the Magdalene and John.  How does Jesus’ granting of mercy to his murderers–“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”–extend to Judas, Pontius Pilate and others?
And what lessons does it teach us as we struggle with the perpetrators of death in our 21st Century Culture of Death–abortionists, murderers, supportive politicians, and terrorists operating on the world stage.



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February 02, 2016 – Pope Francis’ new book On the Family

On the Family is a collection of Pope Francis’ Wednesday General Audiences  on the family between 17 December 2014 and 16 September 2015.  Saint Pope John Paul II  similarly introduced the world to the Theology of the Body  over a much longer period.  In a way, the primary subject area is the same–the family–the mini-Church–the most basic community of society and Church.  The Culture of Life begins in families and these two popes recognize that many families are in deep trouble.  Both popes offer sound teaching for strengthening family life.
Usually, I invite the author of a book I want to feature to be on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America”, but in this case I didn’t even try.  Instead, I went to the publisher to find a worthy replacement in Mark Brumley, Chief Executive Officer for Ignatius Press. He also oversees the online magazines for Ignatius Press and wears several additional hats, including being a writer in his own right, with articles having appeared in a wide variety of publications. 
I really enjoyed reading On the Family.  Its 27 chapters in 121 pages are “bite-size” and make for easy reading because they are not deep theology, but really quite commonsensical–like a grandfather imparting a life-time of wisdom to his grandchildren.
I’d like to ask Mark a few questions:
  • How does Pope Francis make life in the 1st C Holy Family relevant to 21st C families that live in a radically different time and culture?
  • In a chapter titled “The Mother”, he mixes together our own earthly mothers, Mother Mary and the Church as Mother. How did he do that?
  • He quotes extensively from VCII ahd the idea of “maternal martyrdom”, which fits my belief that conscientious motherhood is a sure (almost) path to sainthood. How does Francis treat this mothers-are-saints mentality?
  • The pope has great concern for women and for their dignity and equality, referring particularly to the typical wage differential in comparison to male workers.  It is a touchy subject, it seems to me, because the allure of the work force encourages women/mothers to leave their vocation as mother and homemaker.  How did the Pope address this conflict of values/vocations?
  • This attraction to the material and social opportunities of the work place is certainly a temptation to limit family size by contraception (which then can lead to abortion). The vulcanization of rubber and  birth control pill technologies caused the birth rate to drop from 7 in 1800 to 2  in 1940, and then from about 5 in 1950 to 2 in 1970–where it has remained for 45 years.  Did Pope Francis address contraception and abortion, which Saint Pope John Paul II called “fruits of the same tree”?
  • He devotes two chapters to “The Father”.  Here again Francis links earth, Heaven and Nazareth by comparing our earthly fathers (their deficiencies and obligations) to God the Father/Creator, and Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.  What messages is the Pope gleaning from these comparisons?
  • Of course,  there is a “The Children” chapter (actually 3) that speaks of children as blessings, source of great joy, and their value to family, community and society.  He speaks here of the sad situation in most developed countries where children are unwelcome.  Here (as elsewhere) Pope Francis speaks of the need for parents to be “responsible” in having children, but then says “having many children cannot automatically be an irresponsible choice”.   In “elsewhere” (interviews, etc), the Pope has used language (“breeding like rabbits”) offensive to parents of large families, AND he has also praised large families when addressing their organizations.  Where is his heart on “family planning”?
  • On p 46, referring to “extraordinary parents” who are raising a child with difficulties, he says, “these parents should not be left alone! We should accompany them in their toil . . “.   I have the sense that this happens in families, parishes and neighborhoods.  Do you agree? Have a personal example?
  • On the Family is full of wisdom for all family members from children to grandparents.  Who needs this book?  How might it be used in the family or parish?

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January 26, 2016 – A Sign of Contradiction–Catholic Church on Contraception

Anthony (Tony) Digmann has been thinking about and wrestling with the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception since he was an 18 year-old HS student.   So when he had an opportunity to write a Thesis for his MA in Theology from Loras College,  “contraception” was the natural choice for a thesis subject.  Following graduation, Tony expanded and deepened his study to create a 300+ page 21st Century relook at contraception, family planning, natural family planning (NFP) and the Catholic view of same.  Sign of Contradiction (SOC) is the perfect title, and One More Soul is very pleased to be the publisher–  Tony now teaches Theology at  Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville Iowa.


Here are some of the Questions I hope to ask Tony:

  • SOC is a very thorough review of contraception, family planning, NFP and the Catholic Church’s position on these topics.  Why is it important to re-investigate these topics now–at the beginning of the 21st Century?
  • Why is  Sign of Contradiction such anappropriate title for your book?
  • You present a strong endorsement of NFP over contraception.  Please give our listeners a summarycomparison of these two approaches to family planning.
  • The satisfaction expressed by NFP-using couples is well documented in SOC and many other places, particularly in the publications of various NFP teaching organizations.  Given the many benefits of NFP over contraception, how do you explain the low NFP-use rates compared to contraception?
  • I am not aware of much having been written about couples that instead of using NFP,  just embrace whenever they feel God’s encouragement to do so.  Are you familiar with studies that compare these “providentialists” with users of NFP?  I have not seen such studies.
  • You are careful to point out that Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (HV)  stipulates that NFP use to prevent conception is limited to times when the couple have serious or just reasons for avoiding or postponing the blessings of a child.  What are those conditions?
  • You have a sense that support is growing for  the Church’s stand on contraception and  NFP because the 21st C American Catholic is different from earlier generations.  What is this difference and how significant is it??
  • My observation and the reports of many others suggest that contraception, NFP, family planning and associated Church teaching has rarely been the subject of homilies during the past 100 years.  Studies indicate that 70 to 90 % of Catholics do not agree with Church teaching.  Also, only about 6% of dioceses require a full NFP course in Marriage Preparation.   Why this break between the Magisterium and the diocese/parish?  What can be done to encourage the ordained to improve catechesis in this area?

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January 19, 2016 – How Father Fredy Angel is raising a multi-cultural community of Faith in the Deep South

Fredy Angel came to Savannah Georgia from Bogota Columbia as a missionary to Spanish-speaking people in 2001. Four years later he was ordained a priest and soon was pastoring three parishes in southern Georgia. To celebrate Mass and administer sacraments, Fr. Fredy drove more than 150 miles every weekend. His charismatic leadership of a multi-ethnicity congregation spurred rapid growth and he soon recognized the need for a large centralized church which is now under construction.
From the inner city to rural America, small parishes are struggling to remain viable and vital with aging parishioners, closed Catholic schools (due to small or absent families), and dwindling congregations.  What is Fr Angel doing to save and grow a parish?  Can his methods work in your parish, or parishes near you?
One approach that he has tried is bilingual masses. Fr. Fredy also functions as a founding member of the Hispanic Ministry Council, which acts as a voice for the region’s Latinos.  Here a few of the questions I want to ask him:


  • You are in the process of transforming three Georgia missionary parishes into a vibrant community of Faith. Please tell our listeners how you came to this task and how is it going?
  • Your South Georgia Parish is a mixture of Hispanic-, Caucasian-, African-, and Asian-Americans. How are you melding them into a team/family for Jesus?
  • What is the Hispanic Ministry Council?
  • How important is great Liturgy? How do you do a bi-lingual Mass?
  • You are praised for your teaching. How do you teach the Faith?




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January 12, 2016 – What’s Trending in Adult Catechesis?

When I was young, Religious Education consisted primarily in educating Catholic youth in the Catholic School or CCD after school programs.  I don’t recall much being available labeled as “Adult Formation”, or similar, with the possible exception of a visiting missionary priest doing a “Parish Mission” once per year.


But life is different now, both in and out of the Catholic church.  Only 25% of adult Catholics attend Mass on the weekend.  Parents are less likely to send their children to a Catholic school or parish CCD (or equivalent) program.  Active adult Catholics are less likely to have received solid instruction in their faith, and their is a huge hunger for knowledge about all aspects of religion, especially considering the incredible expanse of what now constitutes all-things-Catholic.


Our Guest on “The Quest for a Culture of Life in America” will be Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo.  Deacon Sabatino graduated from Christendom College in 2004 and completed a Masters degree in Systematic Theology with an Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma from Christendom’s Notre Dame Graduate School. In 2009, Deacon Sabatino founded the Institute of Catholic Culture, a non-profit Catholic adult faith formation organization dedicated to the Church’s call for a new evangelization, and has since served as its Executive Director. Ordained to the diaconate in 2011, he also serves as the Director of Faith Formation for the Greek Catholic Diocese of Newton, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Linda, have five children and live in Front Royal, Virginia.


The Institute of Catholic Culture organizes presentations on various Catholic topics presented by mostly priests and bishops at parishes of the Diocese of Arlington VA, and often accompanied by a meal.  These presentations are live-streamed for free viewing and archived for viewing at any time–also FREE.  And the presenters are well known to many Catholics.  Deacon Sabatino is ICC’s most prolific presenter.  I wonder how this all works?  How it is funded when everything is FREE? How does he get recognized Catholic authors and speakers like Prof Alice von Hildebrand, Bishop Robert Morlino, Msgr Charles Pope, and Fathers Schenck, Scalia, and others) to do these presentations?


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